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(MENAFN - AFP) Toymaker Mattel has a problem: Barbie's performance has not been very pretty of late.

Sales of the iconic blond dolls tumbled 14 percent in the first quarter, the second straight quarter to see a double-digit decline.

Barbie's slump comes as Mattel and other toymakers contend with bloated product inventories and a cut-throat retail environment that ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Hundreds of Eurostar commuters had their Easter travel plans disrupted on Thursday as a technical fault inside the tunnel held trains up for five hours and forced the cancellation of later services.

Customers on the French side of the tunnel were told there had been a fatality on the line, and then that a freight train had broken down inside the tunnel.

"We ...


(MENAFN - AFP) The Philippines on Thursday asked more than 400 passengers who shared an airline flight with a man infected with the MERS virus to check in with the health department immediately.

The move was a precautionary measure to ensure none of them were infected by the man who has since been quarantined along with his family, a health official said.

Passengers ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Under pressure from anti-trust authorities, Nespresso France has agreed to a series of measures designed to make it easier for rival companies to produce coffee capsules which can be used in its machines.

Under a provisional accord announced on Thursday, the Nestle subsidiary agreed that any changes to the technical specifications of its machines which would ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Ford Motor launched its luxury Lincoln car brand in China on Thursday, just days ahead of Beijing's auto show in the world's largest car market.

Ford, the second-largest US automaker, said the Lincoln was designed specifically for China customers.

The company will begin sales in the autumn in seven cities with the Lincoln MKZ, a midsize sedan, and ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Regulators Thursday charged a former BP employee who worked on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with insider trading after he sold $1 million worth of BP stock days after the disaster.

Keith Seilhan, who coordinated BP's cleanup of the giant oil spill, sold his family's entire portfolio of BP stock over two days in late April 2010 after he learned the spill ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Italy on Thursday asked the European Union to push back a deadline for cutting its public deficit to 2016, days after France reportedly tried and failed to get another extension.

Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said record unemployment and weak growth -- exasperated by measures to pay tens of billions of euros of overdue arrears to companies -- were making ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Britain's Food Standards Agency ordered a new wave of tests Thursday after research found nearly a third of lamb takeaways and curries contained other, cheaper meats.

The FSA found that 43 out of 145 samples of lamb takeaway meals contained other meat such as beef, chicken and turkey, with 25 of them consisting purely of beef.

None of the samples, ...


(MENAFN - AFP) China will appeal a ruling by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that its export restrictions on rare earths and other resources broke international rules, the commerce ministry said on Thursday.

The WTO's disputes settlement body decided last month that China's export duties and quotas, plus limits on who could trade in the rare earths tungsten and molybdenum ...


(MENAFN - AFP) Portugal on Thursday said it plans to make its first pre-announced government bond auction since April 2011, ahead of exiting its bailout programme next month.

The national debt management agency IGCP said it would make a regular, long-term bond issue on Wednesday aiming to raise 500-750 million euros ($690-1.0 billion) with a 10-year term.

The issue ...

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